Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recently announced that it has barred Richard L. Wood, a Miamisburg, Ohio, broker, from the securities industry for stealing a $90,000 inheritance two sisters received from a deceased aunt and using it for his own purposes.
FINRA also found that Wood created and sent false account statements in order to cover up his theft. At the time, Wood worked for American General Securities Inc.
FINRA found that in August 2006, one of Wood’s customers passed away, leaving the two victims, her nieces, as beneficiaries of her estate. While helping liquidate the estate, Wood recommended that each of the sisters open a brokerage account with him and invest in bonds. But Wood did not open the brokerage accounts or invest in bonds. Instead, he misappropriated the funds by instructing the sisters to make their checks payable to an entity under Wood’s sole control — STL Financial, Inc. — instead of payable to a bona fide brokerage firm.
In order to cover up his theft of the funds, Wood provided each sister with a false account number for a fictitious brokerage account. In late 2007, one of the sisters became concerned that she had received no documentation regarding the account and investment in bonds. She contacted Wood who assured her that she would receive written confirmation. After repeated requests, Wood created a false customer account statement and sent it to her, following up with additional fictitious statements on at least two other occasions over the next six months.
FINRA found that Wood used the misappropriated funds for his own purposes. He later returned stolen funds to one of the customers. The other sister was reimbursed by American General Securities during FINRA’s investigation.
Wood agreed to a permanent bar from the securities industry without admitting or denying the alleged misconduct, but consenting to the entry of FINRA’s findings.
American General Securities is a FINRA registered broker-dealer based in Dayton, Ohio. Prior to working at American General, Richard Wood was a registered financial advisor with Franklin Financial Services Corporation, a registered broker-dealer based in Houston, Texas.
According to his FINRA Broker Report (CRD), FINRA’s investigation was not the first time that Richard Wood was named in a claim related to securities fraud. Wood was also named in two customer disputes related to securities fraud. These claims appear to have been related to his unsuitable recommendation to sell an annuity and failure to follow the client’s instructions.
If you have questions about investments you made with American General Securities Inc. , or if you believe that you have been the victim of a securities fraud, The White Law Group may be able to help. To speak to a securities attorney, please call our Chicago office ate 312-238-9650.
The White Law Group, LLC is a national securities fraud, securities arbitration, investor protection, and securities regulation/compliance law firm with offices in Chicago, Illinois and Boca Raton, Florida.
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